Peranakan II, 2012. Watercolour, ink and acrylic on paper. 172 x 140 cm
Thornton Walker is a Melbourne based visual artist, whose practice explores memory, stillness and nostalgia. Since his first solo exhibition in 1980, Walker has exhibited widely, and his works are held in both national and international collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of NSW, Parliament House, and the British Museum.
Walker produced his latest body of work Koay teow th’ng, while undertaking an artist’s residency in Penang, Malaysia. In this exhibition, Walker mediates on the past through capturing the faded faces that decorate Penang’s temple walls. Through his characteristic use of photography, the artist translates atmospheric images into watercolour, ink, acrylic and oil paint. The intimately cropped works suggest a quiet fragility and passage of time, though their ink stained and spattered surfaces.
In Koay teow th’ng, Walker gently mocks our enthusiasm for the allure of foreign cultures. With a wry irreverence, the artist contrasts his dreamy portraits with unrelated Chinese characters. In his Nonya girl image, the script reads “lychee in heavy syrup.” The banality of the text belies the atmospheric and romantic portrait. Indeed, the title of the exhibition takes its name from a popular noodle soup dish sold at road side stall in Malaysia.
Come and join us for the opening at 6pm, November 9.
Koay teow th’ng runs until December 1st.